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Old 02-10-2016, 10:21 PM   #1
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Towing Lessons

We're new to towing our new 19' Airstream. Can anyone recommend a travel trailer driving school? We're in the Baton Rouge, Louisiana area.
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Old 02-10-2016, 10:28 PM   #2
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Great idea! My wife and I did a safe RV Driver course the first weekend we had the trailer - great investment!!

I don't live there or know any of these companies, but here's a list from Woodall's you could start with. Good luck!

http://local.woodalls.com/RV_Driving..._Rouge_LA.html
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Old 02-11-2016, 07:54 AM   #3
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In all seriousness, there isn't much to it. Here are my personal list of rules.
  • Have your hitch, weight distribution and sway control set up by an expert you trust
  • Drive like you've got no brakes, leaving double the space between you and other vehicles you'd normally do.
  • Cap your speed at 60.
  • Slow down on hills, especially going down.
  • Have good mirrors.
  • Watch for tight corners.
  • Have a checklist and use it every time before setting out. This includes a full walkaround of the rig.
  • Take your time reversing.
  • Take your time all the time
  • Have fun
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Old 02-11-2016, 08:04 AM   #4
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I would add that whatever gear your rig requires going uphill should be approximately the same you should use going down. If you go up in 3rd, don't shift to 6th after you crest the hill.
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Old 02-11-2016, 08:19 AM   #5
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The list of rules is great. I don't tow a travel trailer, but have towed a 4 horse bumper pull trailer for many short trips (under 50 miles one way) when my daughter was in 4-H.

Backing a trailer is the most intimidating part of the game. A lot of people have trouble learning this skill, so I recommend you practice a bit if this is new to you.
- For beginners it is sometimes beneficial to have them push a small trailer by hand to understand which direction you need to push the tongue to make the trailer go where you want. You can then understand which way to push the trailer when in the tow vehicle.
- A second person outside the vehicle, alongside the trailer, to act as spotter is very beneficial. Your trailer blocks your view and that second set of eyes can help avoid expensive repairs.
- That part about brakes is really important. You may want to leave 4x the distance. I was hauling horses standing in the trailer. The goal was not to tip them over. Acceleration, braking, and cornering were all very gentle. My daughter was (is) very protective of her horses.

Good luck, and have fun.
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Old 02-11-2016, 08:45 AM   #6
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Know your clearance (height and width), watch your overhead when approaching trees and gas stations.

The day we brought ours home there was a small limb stuck in the claw for the awning. Our street is tree lined and I have to drive down the center to avoid the limbs. I got several nasty scratches on the curb side roof line trying to stay to the right.
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Old 02-11-2016, 05:56 PM   #7
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Thank you everyone for your tips.
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Old 02-11-2016, 06:16 PM   #8
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Always use a spotter. Get a good hand signal routine set up. If you lose sight of your spotter just stop till you can see them again. Put your hand on the bottom of the steering wheel then move your hand in the direction you want the trailer to go. Slower is better in reverse. Relax and enjoy.
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Old 02-11-2016, 09:39 PM   #9
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After we had an accident with our new Airstream driving it home a few months ago, I took the advice of another forum member and signed my husband and I up for a 2-day personalized RV driving course through this company:

http://www.rvschool.com/

(Unfortunately, there doesn't appear to be an instructor in your area.)

We chose Chuck Urwiller in Ocala as our instructor. For newbies, as we are, I would recommend this course although it is expensive. The most valuable part for us was learning a method for backing up. Chuck gave me the knowledge and confidence to take on the task of backing up and it's taken a lot of the anxiety away from moving day.

He also spent a lot of time with us driving on two-lane roads and through small towns and in small parking lots, teaching us that we can go where we didn't think we could. I'm sure over time we would have figured out this stuff on our own through trial and error, but hopefully this course will eliminate much of the future error.
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Old 02-11-2016, 10:26 PM   #10
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Glad to hear that was s help to you! 😃

Hope all is well with you and your trailer - is it all fixed?
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Old 02-12-2016, 05:40 AM   #11
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You might look into a CDL Class A driving school and see if they would teach you the basics of driving your AS and if so the cost. Typically the CDL Class A schools run about $4,000, but include the CDL test and take several weeks. You will only need a few hours alone with an instructor.
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Old 02-12-2016, 06:36 AM   #12
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All of these are great suggestions. If you can not find a school, get a friend who knows how to pulls a trailer. Get with that person in a large vacant lot, and ask them to give you some instructions and then you take over. Backing is the hardest to learn but once you get the hang of it, it will be fine. Good camping.
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Old 02-12-2016, 08:28 AM   #13
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Towing Lessons

A number of fine books released in 1950's - 1970's. Check local library.

Common sense is hindsight. It'll come to you with practice. Backing is where practice pays off.

Biggest tip is to plan your drive. Exit numbers, etc. Same for fuel stops where ingress/egress is crucial. IOW, too much information all at once can overload the inexperienced in making decisions. So, when in doubt, come to a stop. To hell with anyone behind you.

Truck drivers will tell you crossing the continent is easy, but those last three miles to the consignee are where the problems all surface at once.
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Old 02-12-2016, 07:10 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveSueMac View Post
Glad to hear that was s help to you! ��

Hope all is well with you and your trailer - is it all fixed?
Steve,

Thanks for the advice on the RV school. It was a great idea and we're glad we did it.

Cosmetic issues (marred cabinets & dent from accident) will have to wait until we visit Jackson Center in June. Our insurance company paid us the amount that Airstream estimated for the dent repair -- over $10k.

However, our propane regulator problem (recall), hitch issue (the Propride hitch yoke was installed upside down causing scary sway issues and hitch damage), and the leak under the galley sink (from the filter installed by the dealer) have been fixed thanks to our friend Keith (on AirForums, khollister) who met my husband several times in our storage facility to work on and repair these problems. Thanks also to Sean at Propride for great customer service and for replacing the damaged parts at no charge.

Joanne
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